It's (almost) official--fall is here. Marcus is in K2, Samantha is in her new daycare across the street from his school, and I am back at work. Robert's fall conferences/trips have also started up, so yes, the summer seems to be over. (And yes, that's Samanatha eating in three of the four pictures above.)
We celebrated Marcus's 5th birthday the night before his actual birthday at one of the jazz concerts in Titus Sparrow Park, with a picnic, joined by Robert's father and Brigida, and with Mulugeta and Lorraine (coincidentally, but happily) on the blanket next to us. I made a shrimp and rice salad Marcus loves, and strawberry jello fingers (he went nuts for them), and pound cake with sprinkles baked inside it and blueberries (his favorite fruit these days) and creme anglaise on the side, and we also had ham and goat cheese sandwiches on homemade Greek bread, blueberry lemonade, and crudite with a spicy Thai peanut dip.
Before school started, we managed to squeeze in a few last fun summer daytrips, including to a park we've never been to before in East Boston. It was very fast to get to--right by Maverick--and a nice playground, with a fun sprinkler, but it was oddly deserted, and the best thing about it, after the novelty factor, was its proximity to excellent pupusas and a breakfast burrito eaten for lunch on the way home. Both kids devoured the burrito--ham, eggs, rice, beans, and cheese, so what could be bad? After the sprinklers and park and subway home, Samantha crashed on the couch, and Marcus asked to go up on my back, so I got to wear my one-day-shy-of-a-five-year-old for a companionable hour around the house as I puttered around.
The Wednesday before Labor Day I took the kids to George's Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, since we try to go to one of the islands at least once a year and somehow we hadn't managed to go yet. Marcus loved exploring the old Civil War-era fort, climbing up (and then back down) some incredibly steep hills. I would have been nervous climbing up some of these even without Samantha on my back (for the record, this is not a baby/toddler-friendly island, but we were fine as she was content to chill on my back and spot boats and birds for the hour-plus we spent clamboring around the fort and hills), so I'd send him up and ask him if there was anything interesting, and then consider climbing up after him. He drew the line at the steep stairs down in the various towers on the edges of the fort, as those were pitch dark. The few other people we saw around said that they were only dark for a couple steps and then there was a window you could climb out onto the lower level, but we didn't make it down that far. Marcus was very worried about all the goose poop on the ground--he refused to play with the balls or frisbee I'd brought because "they might get poopy." Ah, city kids. While we were there it got very foggy, and the ferries changed their schedule, so we had a picnic lunch and then played on the tiny play structure and then on the beach and ended up going back sooner than we'd planned, as it was that or wait two more hours. But it was a great day--Samantha loved the boat rides, especially, and we had a glorious time.
Labor Day weekend itself was full of fun: on Friday we hit up the Museum of Science, and it was remarkably quiet and empty, and also swung by North Point Park, just two blocks from the museum, for a great day.
On Saturday, we met up with Amalia and family downtown.
First we hit Christopher Columbus Park and two different sets of fountains on the Greenway, plus the grand opening day of the new carousel there, before having lunch (lunch slogan: KIDS LOVE SQUID[s]) at Mija Cocina at Quincy Market.
On Sunday, Marcus and Garrison had their second annual Labor Day Urban Campout. Sarah was in Alaska for the weekend (as nuts as that sounds!), but she and Sean had made up very cool tee shirts for the kids, with a custom-designed coat of arms for the occasion, and all the kids sported them proudly, big brothers and little sisters alike.
The little sisters retired to their rooms for the night, again (Sean, who was enlisted to bring his tent, help supervise kids at dinner, and set up the tent, even drove Samantha and me home at the end of the evening), and it was lights-out for the big brothers around 8:30. What a fun evening!
Everyone who camped really enjoyed the night, snuggled in the one giant tent, and then the post-camping breakfast early the next morning as well.
On Labor Day proper we had a barbeque and kiddie pool party on our deck--just four families, including us, each with four parents and two kids, with the second act just Marissa and Jon and their girls hanging out for some serious Lego fun in the living room later on.
Meanwhile, in the past few weeks Boston had put these exciting giant globes around downtown, as part of a new public art installation, and Marcus always has fun admiring them when we walk past the Common, usually on our way to the playground or to dim sum.
Then Grandma and Pop-pop came up from New York for a visit (and to help with the gap of childcare between when my work starts and Marcus's school starts).
The day my parents were leaving, on a Saturday after Robert's softball game, I had a faculty-student boat cruise mixer in the afternoon, so Robert said their goodbyes and took Marcus and Samantha to the Esplanade playground. Marcus ran into Declan, a friend from preschool and summer camps, to swing with, and everyone enjoyed the climbing structures. Samantha also apparently saw a Nestle Quik give-away table and started calling out--"with startling clarity," as Robert put it, for chocolate milk. We have no idea where she learned the phrase, but at any event, the Nestle woman heard her and handed her a free bottle, which she promptly sipped and spilled, gleefully.
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Created: 9/9/13. Last Modified: 9/9/13.